Montana Tuition High Compared to Montana Salaries

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – An education group says Montana families spend a higher percentage of their household income than families in other western states sending their children to public, in-state colleges and universities.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education says tuition and fees to a two-year college in Montana costs 8.1 percent of a family’s median household income, compared to a regional average of 5.9 percent.

At the state’s four-year universities, excluding the University of Montana and Montana State, the ratio of median household income to tuition jumped from 8.4 percent in 2001 to 11.6 percent in 2011.

To attend UM or MSU, the ratio is 14.4 percent.

State officials tell the Missoulian that Montana doesn’t have especially high tuition, but that the state’s lower salaries are causing the disparity.

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